Silksworth’s David Bolt has been named in a 14-man squad to represent England in a series of outdoor matches in Australia to signal the start of preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The matches in Australia will include a three-day Test match at Broadbeach BC against the hosts from April 26-28.
The Test will be followed by a series of one-day events against representative teams from across the Gold Coast, from Sunday April 30 to Friday May 5.
The last Sunderland player to appear in a Test Series for England was Hylton CW’s Jimmy Lambert in 1991.
With a play-off place already in the bag, Houghton A ended the group stage of the Seniors Inter-Club League with an impressive 5-0 home win over Gateshead A.
Joe Sutherland, John Godfrey, Jimmy Swinney and Ian Whorlton had to work hard for a 14-9 victory over Bill Bolam, while John Doyle, Freddie Fletcher, Foster Johnson and Peter Harding turned around a 7-3 deficit to beat Alan Birrell 14-8.
The remaining rink of Pat Collins, Brian Race, Trevor Joicey and David Wright ran out 15-8 winners against Albert Patterson, sealing a 43-25 win overall.
By finishing runners up in Group Three, Houghton will have to travel in the play-off quarter finals as they will face the winners of Group Four, Durham B or The Parks A.
Play-off quarter-final draw: Shildon v Group 4 runners-up, Darlington B v Group 1 runners-up, South Shields v Hartlepool A, Group 4 winners v Houghton A.Ties to be played by March 29.
The play-off semi-finals will both be played at Darlington on March 30, with the final at the same venue on the following day.
In Group Four, Houghton B ended their campaign with an eighth consecutive defeat against Gateshead B, while, in Group Two, Sunderland, whose campaign was already over, avoided bottom spot thanks to Ferryhill’s failure to beat Hartlepool A.
Latest standings, Group 1: Shildon played 7 pts 29½, Spennymoor 8-20, Darlington A 7-18½, Great Aycliffe 7-16, Durham A 7-6
Group 2 (final places): Darlington B 33, Hartlepool A 30½, Stanley A 15½, Sunderland 12, Ferryhill 9
Group 3 (final places): South Shields 33, Houghton A 29, Gateshead A 15, Stanley B 13½, Parks B 9½
Group 4: Durham B 7-29, Parks A 7-27, Hartlepool B 8-20, Gateshead B 8-16½, Houghton B 8-2½
Houghton return to Inter-County League action tomorrow as they face Gateshead A.
After the defeat to leaders Hartlepool last time out, the Houghton lads will be looking to bounce back to winning ways.
Houghton team – at Houghton: M Baker, P Hicks, B Henderson, B Henderson (snr); K Waterson, F Fletcher, P Harding, I Whorlton; At Gateshead: T Joicey, J Scullion, S Tindale, AJ Dunn; M Wright, DWright, D Armstrong, J McAdoo
Bottom-of-the-table South Shields also return to action as they face Durham, who need to win to keep their slim hopes alive of lifting the title for the first time.
Shields team – at Shields: I Scott, D McCauley, R Cragg, A Lawton; K Taylor, T Young, A Harrison, C Elliott; At Durham: K Thompson, T Halcrow, N Ridley, I Riches; C McCord, J Drummond, S Hubbard, J McKenna
Sunderland have their bye this month.
Latest standings, Div One: Hartlepool 4-37½, Sunderland 5-23½, Durham 4-21, Parks 4-19, Houghton 4-17½, Gateshead A 4-13½, South Shields 3-8
Div Two: Darlington 5-44, Gateshead B 5-34, Stanley 5-26½, Aycliffe 4-26, Dunelm 4-20½, Spennymoor 5-16½, Ferryhill 5-11½, Shildon 5-11
Houghton Ladies conclude their Inter-Club League campaign on Wednesday as Great Aycliffe provide the opposition.
After the clean sweep against Gateshead in their previous game, Houghton will be full of confidence as they attempt end the season on a winning note.
Houghton team – at Houghton: J Watt, R Turnbull, B Johnson, S Forster; B Prudhoe, E Barren, B Robson, E Faith; A Latimer, H Collingwood, A Banks, F Phythian; At Hartlepool: M Hall, M Eggleston, A Vout, N Stephenson; J Hume, E Barkes, M Metcalf, JB Smith; D Fenwick, M Glover, G Eltringham, J Baker
Last weekend, Houghton hosted a couple of Ladies County Champion of Champions finals.
In the fours final, Durham’s Ann Bernard narrowly defeated Hartlepool’s Janet Ridpath 12-9.
Bernard went on to to complete a double as a 21-10 win over Aycliffe’s Janette Rogers secured the triples title.
South Shields have had a cracking season so far and hopes were high of a National title last weekend as the latter stages of the Mixed Pairs and Mixed Fours were held at Loddon Vale, sadly it proved to be a disappointing weekend for the Shields squads. In the Mixed Pairs Jackie Tallack-Stewart and David Bolt were always playing catch up in their last sixteen opener and finally succumbed 20-9 to Riverain’s Tony Webb, the title eventually went to Swale’s Sandy Hazell & Perry Martin. In the Mixed Fours Jackie Tallack-Stewart, Maureen Charles, Jaxon McKenna and Shaun McIntosh defeated Bournemouth’s Chris Daniels on the last end 15-13 however they went out in the quarter finals 20-8 to Norfolk’s Wayne Willgress, the title went to Whiteknight’s Andy Knapper.
There should a cracking match at Ferryhill today (5pm), with Durham’s Gary Smith up against Hartlepool’s Glenn Skipp in the Area final of the national singles.
It is a repeat of the 2008 national final which Smith won 21-12.
The pairs Area final, with Stanley’s Brett Arkley and John Thurlbeck taking on Hartlepool’s Carl Higgins and Paul Hartley, will be played at Durham, while the triples and fours finals are scheduled for Darlington.
South Shields held their popular Classic Open Pairs last weekend and a home pair that took the honours as Dave Paterson and Alan Lawton came out on top. Jacky Taylor & Maurice Dunlop finished runners-up.
During the outdoor close season, clubs were invited to attend various meetings with Sunderland Council regarding cutbacks.
As the outdoor season is now only around five weeks away, unbelievably those clubs are still waiting to receive the finalised contract details from the council, while Pemberton are still waiting find out if their green has received a stay of execution.
The draw for the Grindon League’s Tommy Thompson Double Fours has been made.
First round: Hylton CW v Whitburn, Ryhope v Silksworth, Dawdon v Grindon Mill, Pennywell v South Hylton, Barnes WE v Wearmouth, Houghton DL v Usworth